MSD students largely disagree with DeSantis’ decision to send migrants across the country on buses and planes


Tribune News Service

In addition to announcing a tax-relief proposal in a coming legislative session, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took questions from reporters about flights of migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard at a news conference in Bradenton, Florida. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald/TNS.

Kevin Hamm, Writer

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis caused a large controversy on Wednesday, Sept. 14, when it was revealed that he and fellow Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had sent immigrants across the country on buses and planes.

The immigrants were picked up at the southern U.S.-Mexico border; they were mostly sent to places like Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island home to many Democratic politicians and celebrities, but some were sent to Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington D.C. DeSantis also threatened to send immigrants to President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware but never did. 

This move sparked outrage from Democrats who accused DeSantis of using the immigrants as political props and lying to them about where they were going and what type of aid they would receive once they arrived. 

There’s a legal way of doing this–for managing migrants,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a White House statement. “Republican governors interfering in that process and using migrants as political pawns is shameful, is reckless and just plain wrong.”

DeSantis defended his policies by claiming he was responding to liberals and Democrats who expressed their support of sanctuary city policies and criticized measures such as building a wall during the previous presidential administration; Republicans argue that Biden’s relaxed border policies have contributed to a surge of migrants as well as increased drug and human trafficking. 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and families have also reacted with concern and fear over the governor’s actions. 

“The way the governor handled it was irresponsible. It was a way of utilizing immigrants to politicize the situation more than it already was. People who are migrating from their countries are doing so because of bad situations and as an immigrant I understand that,” junior Jane Doe* said. “I think DeSantis makes immigrants seem like the enemy, like they’re a burden to the economy and the country. I think everyone should get an opportunity to demonstrate that they are here in search of a better future.” 

The immigrants, primarily from Venezuela, along with Democrats, are suing DeSantis for discrimination, fraud and enticing them to illegally cross state lines with promises of shelter, aid and job opportunities. 

“I feel like it doesn’t really solve the problem and is mostly a quick solution they came up with on the spot, and not fair to the people sent across the country because they just become another state’s problem,” senior Ian Gines-Arvelo said. “Floridians are already sometimes intolerable to people who are different than them, and the governor’s actions proves his insecurities about immigrants and makes people see them as a problem.” 

DeSantis has also been heavily criticized for using COVID-19 relief funds to pay for sending the migrants across the country, an action which has prompted a criminal investigation into the governor by Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar. 

“These migrants were lured, hoodwinked and exploited for political gain,” Salazar said in a statement. “I believe there is some criminal activity involved here, but at present we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate and find out what laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case.” 

As the investigation into DeSantis continues, immigration will continue to be a divisive and motivating issue when Floridians go to vote in the midterm elections. 

*Names indicated were changed to protect the anonymity of MSD students